The Upper Room devotional reflection for Sunday, May 17th comes to us from C. Jennings of Ontario, Canada
2 Corinthians 4:7-18 NRSV 7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—”I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
When I was in high school, we had “hills day.” A group of us jogged to a hill that overlooks a lake, and the coach called out, “Ten times, up and down.” The first two laps were invigorating because the group tackled the hill together. But by lap nine, I was alone, my sides ached, and I gasped for breath; I wanted to give up. Though only creeping forward, I forced one foot in front of the other, determined to finish. When I reached the top of the hill for the tenth time, I looked out across the expanse of the lake. It stretched so far that it made me — and the hill — seem small. Years later I saw how much the hill was similar to life. Sometimes life is fun, like the jog from the school to the hill. At other times putting one foot in front of the other is grueling. When we do face the hills of life, we can focus on Christ, who climbed a hill and carried a cross for us, giving us the hope of eternity. As we do, our trials look smaller.
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to lift our eyes to you in challenging times. Remind us that our earthly troubles will seem small when we stand in the presence of your glory. Amen.
– C. Jennings
May God grant each of the strength to place one foot in front of the other, climbing our hills with faithful determination to experience the great lake of God’s peace.